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Can child protective services take your kids away if you have depression and anorexia?
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Can child protective services take your kids away if you have depression and anorexia?

If their is no abuse to the child/ren and no neglect to the child/ren and you seek out counseling for depression and anorexia can CPS take your kids away put them in foster care or even foster to adopt. I am really curious to what the answer might be.

And if the kids are white, healthy and ages 4 and under. And their parents are married.

Asking out of curiosity
Additional Details
anorexia-Loss of appetite, especially as a result of disease.

anorexia nervosa-A psychophysiological disorder usually occurring in young women that is characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming obese, a distorted self-image, a persistent unwillingness to eat, and severe weight loss. It is often accompanied by self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, malnutrition, amenorrhea, and other physiological changes.

I said anorexia. Which means loss of appetite. Which can be due from stress or depression. Gaining an appetite is harder than losing an appetite when emotions are tied to eating.

Mental note: So counselor should know about depression. Not anorexia.


I will be the first one to say that as sad as it is, CPS is a necessary agency. Most of the time, they do their jobs well and I commend the people who work there. These people put their hearts into their jobs and sometimes even put their lives on the line for the kids who need them.

I will say unequivocally that ABSOLUTELY, children need to be protected when their families fail them BUT:

Unfortunately, CPS can and has, taken people's kids for all kinds of reasons even without abuse or neglect in the sense most people think of. Children have been taken because of religious beliefs (such as the recent FLDS case, several cases involving practicing Wiccans and some others involving fundamentalist Christian religions) educational choices (home schooling or alternative education), political beliefs (communists had their children taken, racial supremacists, etc.) and other lifestyle choices (such as communal living, nudists, etc.) among other reasons. Many times these cases result in the children being returned but there are also cases that resulted in permanent separations of families, some rightfully so and some not so rightfully.

Most people think that they have nothing to worry about because they don't abuse or neglect their children - but you never know what constitutes abuse or neglect to someone else.The CPS system has been abused by people because of its anonymous reporting and the devastation that it can bring to a family. It has been used to "get back" at people who have done nothing wrong.

One of the other problems is that there ARE NO LEGALLY DEFINED RULES about what constitutes abuse and neglect and if it is played in the right light, ANYTHING can appear to be negative.

Run a Google search on CPS fraud or CPS abuse and see what you get. Mixed in with the people who are pissed about being caught being bad parents are REAL VICTIMS who have paid the ultimate price for being "different" than the "normal".

CPS is generally a good thing and mostly removes children when they are in DANGER, but abuses DO happen (false accusations, over zealous SWs, etc.) and so do mistakes (filing mistakes, mistaken identity, poor evidence collection, missing files and sometimes even kids themselves! OMG!!, etc.).

It IS possible that an unscrupulous person from CPS/DSS could attempt to take these children for the purpose of adopting them out but the chances are not that likely. (Most people who work for these agencies are good people, unfortunately they are not the ones who get all the press time...)

My only real concern would be this:

"kids are white, healthy and ages 4 and under"

it makes them PRIME TARGETS for helping fill adoption goals, "targets" or "quotas" because they fall into the "highly adoptable" category and whether or not people believe it, there ARE federal incentives for States to adopt out from foster care.*

I would be careful if I were this family.

(Or ANY family! I am very careful with mine!! You wouldn't believe how well I have learned to keep records!)

Just to be safe.


ETA: Randy said, "These processes involve courts, lawyers and judicial oversight all throughout so the idea that they would swoop in, grab kids and place them for adoption "just because" they wanted to is absurd." and yet it HAS happened. Most of the time when these scandals are exposed the corruption runs deep and wide. Georgia Tann had corrupt Judges on her "team" and there are plenty of corrupt Court officials now.


I wouldn't venture to say it is common, but I wouldn't call it absurd either. Like most things it is not that black and white, more like a marbled grayish thing...

An eating disorder can disrupt everyone's life, and could be psychologically damaging to a child who witnesses this behavior. Im doubt if a parent's eating disorder is grounds for termination of parental rights, though...unless there is evidence the child is suffering from this.

As far as depression goes, many adults suffer from depression. As long as it is controlled with therapy and or medication and there is no danger to a child, it is NOT grounds for termination. Millions of Americans suffer from clinical depression.

It's really, really important that you get help. Leaving these conditions untreated is what will harm your kids, not trying to heal yourself.

According to their professional ethics, anything told to a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, etc. is considered confidential and privileged information unless there is imminent threat of harm or danger to the patient or others.

So unless there was actually some evidence of potential abuse/neglect, I'm not sure how CPS would even find out about the psychological conditions? If the therapist informed CPS without very solid grounds, that would be extreme malpractice. Most therapists aren't prepared to commit professional suicide like that, so I wouldn't expect many to be willing to ruin their careers to try to stick it to a parent who did nothing wrong.

Assuming CPS did somehow become involved, placing a child in foster care and placing a child for adoption through the state are wildly different things. The parents of a child in foster care will be given a case plan and time to follow it before termination of parental rights is considered (unless it's a case of criminal abuse.) If the state eventually decides to TPR in a case of noncompliance with those case goals, there is an appeals process. So even if a child was apprehended and placed in foster care, the parent(s) would have the opportunity to get their child back. Adoption would happen only after a lengthy TPR legal process.

So basically, for a child to be immediately removed and adopted out in this situation would require a tremendous number of people to violate their professional ethics in a coordinated way-- highly unlikely to the point of being all but impossible.

If you're suffering from depression and an eating disorder... regardless of if it's Nervosa or not... you really need to get help. I've suffered from both of those things, and I can tell you it WILL wreck your life, and your family's life, if you don't deal with it.

The danger to your family comes from NOT getting the help you need. What you tell your therapist is confidential, unless you're threatening harm to yourself and others. Therapists usually err on the side of confidentiality even in borderline cases. Getting the help you need will NOT cause you to lose your kids. You can safely seek counseling without worrying about CPS involvement as long as you are not a direct danger to your children, so please don't delay therapy because of those fears.

CPS only takes children away if they are in any kind of harm. So unless you are depressed and often become angry and violent, I highly doubt they will take kids away.

Actually I know someone who this happened to. After her divorce she become anorexic and suffered from depression. CPS took her children and their father now has full custody.

I don't believe they would make any moves to take away your children. They would have to prove that you are a really unfit parent. You need help with both depression and your eating disorder. You seeking help is proof that you are a responsible adult, trying to get the help you need, for your sake and for the sake of your children. You are going to have to trust someone to get help. There are many moms out there who have the same type of problems honey. You need to stop worrying and don't let this stop you from getting help.

“Č‚ô•Zainabs Muma & Due Sep“Č‚ô•
no as long as your kids are looked after and not in danger then they wont do a thing... this is why people are scared to get help when they need it... dont worry and continue your counselling..

If a parent is seeking treatment and managing their illness and the children are not abused or neglected there should be no problem.

yes and no.
if either interferes with their parenting or if they need to go into residential treatment and there is no family to look after the kids then CPS will step in.
Neither alone will make them take a child but if you are a danger to your self or others deemed by a therapist or pscy they have duty to warn in their ethics. legally they have to say something but if you are not threaten to kill your self or others and the children are taken care of no

It's a boy! 9/9/09
no, as long as the child/ren is fed properly and cared for properly. also if the mother is seeking help then it shows that she is aware of her situation and is seeking help. CPS would not take the kids.

I wouldn't think so - unless the person suffering from depression and anorexia will be in residential treatment and the spouse cannot handle being a single parent during that time.

Most likely, they will monitor the situation and work with the parents to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

As I live in MN - your CPS may act differently.

Randy B
I believe they have to prove that there is harm possible to the children in the form of neglect or abuse. They may come in and take the children regardless but in most areas (I hesitate to say ALL but I believe that to be true) they must convince a court of the need for continued removal and if they were not able to do so then the children would be removed.

There is a whole process that must be undertaken before the children could be placed for adoption. The seizure order used to get the children must be changed to a temp guardianship order which must then be changed to a permanent guardianship order before they could even consider placing them for adoption. These processes involve courts, lawyers and judicial oversight all throughout so the idea that they would swoop in, grab kids and place them for adoption "just because" they wanted to is absurd.

Freckle Face
Good grief, of course race and the age of the child plays a huge role. It would be wunnerful if it wasn't but the sad reality is race matters. sry this is in reply to someone who takes "offense" blah blah blah.

I would listen to Flying Monkey, Mama Kate, and Monkey Kitty as usual they give insightful information. Best wishes to you.

No, and Yes, there would need to be more then just these issues. There are many Adoptive Parents who have depression and anorexia. And many who have had these issues as well as many others before they adopt.

CPS or the case workers with the foster care and adoption system place children in homes with parents who are ordinary people with their own issues or problems during life. What they look at is How the Parent managed to get help and cope.

I have seen a situation (my best friend) where a child was placed into foster care because his mother had a debilitating illness and was expressing suicidal thoughts. The state did look for other relatives to place her son with and also gave her a case plan to work toward getting him reunified.

She was assisted in finding the services she needed, and help with her medical condition. She was asked to establish a support system with family and friends and receive counseling. She was provided with Section 8 housing, home health care, and other benefits to help her better manage her own life and care for her son.

Once all everything was in place to insure her son was safe and that his mother was not a danger to herself or others he was returned to her. The situation she went through was actually very helpful and gave her the support and services she needed to spend the rest of her live as his mother. She died only a few years later due to complication of her medical issue...

The fact that she had gone through this made it possible for his needs to be addressed for after her death and they were. Her son was welcomed by some friends who offered her son a very secure and stable life. He graduated from High School last spring.

As long as you are actively doing something about these issues it means you care enough to care about yourself and how this may affect your children. Abuse and Neglect are two very important things to consider but, in some states "Risk of Harm to Self or Others" may be handled in a different way.

In some states what you are worried about happening wouldn't be because of Abuse or Neglect to the child--It can be about the Risk of Harm any person may be to themselves or others which can lead to hospitalization or treatment. If a person is involuntarily held for Psych Evals they would be asked about such things as minor children so the children could be cared for.

They would most often contact the other parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles or any other family to see if they can care for the children. At this point if there is family who can care for the children and they run down and get them the children wouldn't necessarily even go to a foster home. If a parent is held in a hospital or in jail and the other parent and no grandparents, aunt or uncles run down to get the kids right when it happens then the state has few choices but to make sure the children are in the care of able adults.

As long as your children are being fed and there is adequate food in the home Your Diet will not result in the loss of your children. It is NOT a negative thing to get counseling or treatment for a Human Problem and is ONLY a Negative if a person tries to pretend they don't have a problem. Eating disorders can be very damaging to children.

Depression is common--and believe it or not you can even adopt foster children if you have a history of depression, the fact that you recognize it and get treatment is what makes the difference. Locking yourself behind the doors and pulling the curtains is what gets you into trouble.

Jennifer L
There's a big difference between anorexia and anorexia nervosa. The two terms are not synonymous.

Anorexia means a loss of appetite. This can come from a host of sources, physiological or psychological. Chemotherapy causes anorexia, that's why people take Marinol or other medications that stimulate the appetite. Anorexia is a side effect of many, many medications. Depression can also cause anorexia... just don't feel like eating. So can stress... ever been too worried about something to eat? Or been so busy that you forgot to eat?

Anorexia Nervosa, however, is a serious psychological disorder which involves self-starvation, or like bulemia, binging and purging. The self-starvation can get to the point where it constitutes a real danger to the lifelong health and life of the person.

So, depression coupled with a loss of appetite, I seriously doubt could be grounds for someone to be mentally incapable of caring for children unless it was extremely severe depression. Even so, in the case you're talking about, there is another (presumably) functional adult in the home. So, extremely doubtful, unless that person was a danger to themselves or others.

Severe Anorexia Nervosa, however, especially with no other functional adult in the home, could be a different matter entirely. This is much more severe and pervasive than basic depression. In the most severe cases, people with anorexia nervosa can't take care of themselves. The disease is so pervasive that they must be continually observed because they are such a danger to themselves. Or they are in such a weakened state from muscle and fat loss that they are physically unable to care for themselves or others. In those cases, especially if there is not a functional adult family member able to step in, I could see CPS ruling that the children are in danger.

Yes, I think you might have a problem. And I agree with what Flying Monkey and Mama Kate and what others have said about CPS. They have given you excellent advice and information. In recent decades, the system has increased its power to take children for more reasons, and in shorter time frames.

The system is supposed to help children in trouble from abuse, but there are people who are working in the system who are corrupt or ignorant, or just plain emotionally disturbed themselves.

States gets bonus money for adoptions out of foster care, due to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, and there have been more additions to that legislation in recent years.

I don't want to see you hurt, but you need to be aware. Married parents are not necessarily safe. I work with family preservationists in the legislature in my state and many married parents have lost children to CPS...and then adoption, eventually.

Most people who adopt are white, and they are looking to adopt very young white children, and that is why..children under 4..and white, if available are a social worker's dream as someone else already said.

First of all, race - age - and parents marital status don't play a part in this question. I kind of find it offensive that you'd mention race as a factor...and I'm white!

Second, as long as the child is being cared for, fed, clothed, emotionally/mentally stable, etc. I don't see why they would take him/her away.

If cps is involved their first plan of action would be to keep the children in the home, and help the parent get help. As long as your children are not neglected, abused, and have all their basic needs met they should be fine. They may do a course of action plan to help you get the help you need. It sounds like you truly love your children, you just need some help for yourself. Good luck with everything hun.

red elephants
I think it is very possible and in some cases it is probably quite needed. There are all types of abuse that aren't just physical but emotional and both depression and anorexia can come in very extreme forms.

In many of the cases where a mother kills her children depression was a contributing factor and after the fact many question why no one, including the state, stepped in to help and protect the kids from possible harm stemming from the depression. Andrea Yates would be an example of this as she was suffering from postpartum depression. Children under 5 years old are also more likely to be victims of parental murder so in this case you present that could have had some impact if the depression was severe.

Many people suffer from some type of depression but in extreme cases I think it would be wise for the state to step in regardless of if the parent is getting help. In the process of getting help the kids could still be at risk.

If married the father may not be in a position to care for the kids full time due to work schedule or anything else despite being married.

It is possible for there to be no neglect/abuse but a very real risk of danger. While I don't think every parent who suffers from depression/anorexia should have their children taken from them I can admit that there are cases where it could definitely be a needed action for the children's safety.

I'm Sober
children's services are child stealers and they can do whatever they feel like they make up stories to steal kids and the adopters help them do it

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